Stage set for key Bahrain national dialogue
Manama, February 8, 2013
Preparations are underway in Bahrain to host the second round of talks that could shape the kingdom's political future on Sunday. The National Consensus Dialogue will be held three days a week at Al Areen Palace and Spa under the theme 'Bahrain unites us'.
However, the deadline for talks and its mechanism have still not been confirmed and will be decided on by political societies during the opening session, said dialogue media centre head Isa Abdulrahman.
Eight National Assembly members - four MPs and four Shura Council members - have confirmed their participation at the dialogue, which will also include eight representatives from the Coalition of Opposition Groups and eight more from the National Alliance of Political Societies.
"There will be no tight security and it will be the responsibility of Al Areen's staff to ensure no one trespasses into the meetings' hall, especially since it is clear that it is behind closed doors," Abdulrahman told the Gulf Daily News, our sister publication.
"But that doesn't mean there wouldn't be some police presence.
"All media personnel - local or international - with accreditation have been invited to the media centre and those who wish to come from abroad to cover the event could easily get passes through proper channels.
"It is still not clear which three days will be selected for the dialogue, but it will be revealed later after an agreement has been reached between participants. Accordingly arrangements will be made."
It is understood the meetings will be held between 4pm and 8pm.
Mr Abdulrahman said the website, www.nd.bh, that was used for the previous dialogue in July 2011 has been updated to ensure full coverage of the event - in both English and Arabic.
Organisers will also post updates on social media networks, including the official Twitter account @bahrainnd.
The participating MPs include Bahrain Bloc members Ahmed Al Saati and Sawsan Taqawi; Independent Bloc member and parliament's financial and economic affairs committee chairwoman Latifa Al Gaoud; and committee vice-chairman Abdulhakeem Al Shemmri, who is unaffiliated.
The Shura Council members taking part are financial and economic affairs committee chairman Khalid Al Maskati, legislative and legal affairs committee chairwoman Dalal Al Zayed, vice-chairwoman Jameela Salman, and woman and child committee chairman Dr Abdulaziz Abul.
All eight met Justice, Islamic Affairs and Endowments Minister Shaikh Khalid bin Ali Al Khalifa at his office in the Diplomatic Area yesterday to discuss details of the talks.
It is understood the six opposition groups have still not put forward the list of eight names that would represent them in dialogue.
The group, which is a mix of Shi'ite Islamists and secular movements, includes Al Wefaq National Islamic Society, the National Brotherhood Society (Ekhaa), National Democratic Action Society (Waad), National Democratic Assembly Society (Al Qawmi), Unity Democratic Gathering Society (Wahdawy) and Democratic Progressive Tribune (Al Taqadumy).-TradeArabia News Service